Peter Bogdanov is founder and Executive Director of VermiCo, an Arizona-based company that, since 1996, develops, markets, distributes and sells earthworm-related products and information.
In 1996 Mr. Bogdanov published Commercial Vermiculture, a book about the earthworm industry and opportunities associated with it. He also launched the bi-monthly subscription newsletter Casting Call, a publication that now reaches an international subscriber base. Principal focus areas of Casting Call include vermiculture, composting, soil fertility and related issues of organic waste. The newsletter reports on scientific journal articles, conferences, news items of interest and often includes interviews with vermiculture experts. Also in 1996, Josephine County Oregon recognized VermiCo in its “Recycler of the Year” Program.
Through its internationally acclaimed website, akgy.cn, VermiCo has established a highly regarded earthworm products enterprise from 1996 to the present, offering new vermicomposting products, information resources such as books, videos and CD-Roms, and promoting a variety of workshops, seminars and conferences.
In 1998 Mr. Bogdanov developed the highly successful New Horizons in Vermicomposting Workshop & Tour events that have been attended by hundreds of individuals from over 25 US states and a dozen foreign countries. Beginning in 1999, a 2-day seminar, Best Management Practices in Vermicomposting, has gained similar attention, focusing on the elements necessary to build a successful vermicomposting business or to conduct a successful project. In the period from November 1998 to October 2003, VermiCo has produced over a dozen vermiculture events, (workshops, seminars and conferences held in 4 different states) attracting over 1,200 persons from some 30 US states and over a dozen countries outside the US. One such event, held in March 2001, was the Earthworms in Eco-Technology Conference & Trade Show, attended by over 250 individuals who heard 14 presentations from leading US vermiculture industry and academic spokespersons.
In the year 2000, VermiCo began producing educational videos, featuring notable vermicomposting operations such as American Resource Recovery, the largest vermicomposting facility in North America, and a video featuring Ohio State University professor Dr. Scott Subler and the Continuous Flow Reactor. Two other VermiCo educational videos produced by Mr. Bogdanov include “Wine Country Worms,” the story of a sole proprietor worm farm in California’s wine country that provides earthworm castings to vineyards, and “Food-Waste Vermicomposting,” showing the installation of a $40,000 mechanized vermicomposting system at a $28-million “zero-waste” private school in San Diego, California.
Mr. Bogdanov has given presentations at various Solid Waste and Recycling Conferences on the subjects of vermicomposting and waste management, including presentations at BioCycle conferences in San Diego, CA (1997) and Portland, OR (2001). In September 2000 Bogdanov presented a 90-minute address at the 2-day training session at The Vermillennium in Kalamazoo, Michigan, an international event attended by 150 worm workers and scientists from around the world. He also presented a paper on the status of vermicomposting in North America at the scientific sessions during the same event. He has had articles published in Worm Digest, Remineralize the Earth, and Acres USA, and has been cited by other authors for his work, notably by Bruce Eastman in his paper, “The Effectiveness of Vermiculture in Human Pathogen Reduction for USEPA Biosolids Stabilization,” [in Compost Science & Utilization (2001), Vol. 9, No. 1, 38-49]. In addition to his 1996 book, Commercial Vermiculture, he is editor of In Their Own Words: Interviews with Vermiculture Experts, published in 2000. He is also co-author of the chapter “The Status of Vermicomposting in North America: A Rapidly Developing Technology,” edited by Ohio State University Entomology Professor Dr. Clive A. Edwards, Norman Q. Arancon and Rhonda Sherman. (2011) In 1996, the Washington Organics Recycling Council (WORC) designated him a Certified Compost Facility Operator.
Mr. Bogdanov has consulted and visited a number of international projects in Asia and Europe. The United States Agency for International Development’s Farmer-Farmer Program asked him to consult with vermicomposting sites in Belarus in 2006 during which he also addressed the Belarus National Academy of Scientists and students at an agricultural college. In consulting vermicomposting operations in Brest and Cherven, Bogdanov provided insight for project managers. Later, USAID, in a follow-up study, assessing the benefits of the consultation provided for the two sites, wrote: “Today, both businesses are busy and thriving. Since the project’s inception less than a year ago, they have increased their compost production from zero to 350 tons and red worm production to four tons. All produce was sold in Belarus, through retail shops, bringing almost $25,000 in total revenue from sales and even generating a small profit.”
Mr. Bogdanov’s 420+ page Manual: Vermicomposting in Waste Management; Best Management Practices, contains 13 tabbed sections covering the following topics: Introduction to Waste Management & Recycling; Composting: The Process; Compost: The Product; Biology & Ecology of Earthworms; Vermicomposting: Process & Product; Compost Marketing; Financing; Site Design; Operations; Business Plan; Regulations; Resources; Glossary.
VermiCo’s clients and customers include state regulatory agencies, waste management boards, non-profit corporations, schools, teachers, U.S. and foreign composting facilities, earthworm growers, worm bin manufacturers, agricultural extension offices, state and local recycling agencies, environmental consultants, universities, libraries, inventors and entrepreneurs.